Friday, January 20, 2012

Marled Yarn

All four colors after some prep (flicking).
Way back in September I purchased a pile of raw dyed alpaca from Alpacas of York at Knitters Day Out. I purchased without intention just because I loved the colors, and the price was good. But I really like to have fiber/yarn with intention so I quickly, I think I was still at KDO, came up with the perfect idea for the fiber.

The doomed swatch. I had already started frogging when I
remembered to take a picture.
I wanted to spin it up so that each of the 4 colors was still distinct but knit it up into a linen stitch scarf where all of the colors would blend together (like the Koigu Linen Stitch Scarves on Ravelry). I even went so far as to spin and knit up a swatch. Two swatches actually as sometime late fall or early winter I made some adjustments and spin and half knit myself up a second swatch.

Now coming off of the holiday maddness I am thinking about the project again. So I, finally, finished swatch #2. I was happy with it and weighed it to see approximately what gauge I was getting vs. the amount of fiber. DOOM. My not terribly large swatch was nearly half an ounce and I only have around 5 ounces of fiber. The maths would not work.

So I spent a few days rather sadly contemplating the state of things and unsure of quite what to do. And then at some point it came to me....a while back I remembered reading an article about creating marled yarns as a way to stretch dyed roving on the knitty blog. Perfect!

Now in the blog she talks a good bit about which color to choose. Being as I don't have that much of a fiber stash I just went with my good ol' Max fiber which is virtually never-ending around here. Plus the chocolate brown worked well with the rich muted colors.

Marled Yarn, pre-wash.
Unwilling to sacrifice any more of the fiber to swatching I rather crazily managed to un-spin the last swatch back into a single. I then re-spun the single to make sure the twist was still ok. This resulted in some rather funky yarn but for testing purposes I decided that was acceptable. Once I had enough Max spun up I plied the two together.

Almost all of my crafting these days is done at night while it is dark out by the lamps of my living room. In that relatively poor light I was rather worried about the yarn. Everything just seemed overly dark and muddied together, except of course the yellow which was high contrast. But I finished up the sample washed it and hung it to dry over night. [I've taken to hanging/laying things out over the top of the furnace in the basement, best drying method ever.]

The next morning I found that I was much happier with the yarn in the daylight. I had to be out of the office over lunch to sell tickets and whenever those days come I like to take a good craft project. My swatch was perfect for this. So over the next two days I knit up the new swatch in between selling tickets and answering questions.

Swatch - take 3.
I really am surprised how much I love the next fabric. The way the colors pop on the solid brown background just seems like such fun. Although I'm a bit worried that some of the colors, especially the green, fade into the brown a bit too much.

Now, as I finish prepping the rest of the fiber, I'm a bit on the fence. I could run with the "Max Brown" color for the entire scarf. I'm pretty sure I would love it. But I could also try spinning up some of the Fawn fleece that I have (Lance), rip out, un-spin (again), and re-spin with the alternate color. It's a tricky choice...

I'll probably go ahead and continue the ridiculousness and try me some Lance sampling just to be sure. Boy am I crazy sometimes....

Thanks for visiting! Be sure and check out the rest of the Fiber Arts Friday blogs.


WonderWhyGal said...

It looks great! When I first started to spin and sell yarns like yours, people were always surprised how well they knitted up. You definitely create a one of a kind project which is super awesome.

pinkundine said...

Wow, I love the look of swatch 3 - so pretty! The colours shine beautifully.

Dutch Hollow said...

Swatch 3 looks great. I don't think you'll need to use a different color at all.

Melissa Plank said...

Beautiful project, the alpaca will be soft and warm!

Jocelyn said...

I love reading about your process! And it all ended up great!

AllyB said...

For me the experimental process is the most fun. To just take your time and get into the minutia of it all. Your fabric looks very interesting. Looking forward to what you finally decide on. Happy Fiber Arts Friday!

Kathryn Ray said...

I'm intrigued by all of the un-spinning. I have only tried that once and it was not very successful.

I suspect a fawn background will allow the other colors to show thru more, but I really like that last swatch too... in fact, I feel the tickling of an idea in the back of my head. :-)

Spinster Beth said...

The green is subtle, but it's perfect that way, on the brown. I love it!